The rise in popularity of CBD oil throughout the world, and more particularly the United States, has seen unprecedented growth, but at the same time many controversies. Much of this stems from ignorance when it comes to what CBD really is, with it being wrongfully villainized as just recreational marijuana.
In this definitive CBD oil guide, we intend to set the record straight and open your eyes to just how effective and safe CBD oil is, and how your world can change for the better if you ever decide to use it.
But with all things present, it is always a great idea to understand the origins. So follow me as we embark on a short trip back to the past.
Where It All Began
Cannabis is not some miraculous plant we discovered by chance a century ago, but has been in cultivation at least since the year 3000 BC[i], which predates even the assumed date of the birth of Jesus Christ, which was approximately between the years 6 and 4 BC. However, it was not until millennia later that its spread and popularity boomed.
The plant was originally native to parts of India and Central Asia, where it was valued for its use in making rope and fibrous materials, and also being consumed as food and for medical purposes. In fact, the exact reason cannabis/marijuana is so hotly contested in today’s culture – for its psychoactive effects, found itself at home during many religious ceremonies.
Not surprisingly, the origin of the word “ganja”[ii]is actually from the Sanskrit language, though today it is most often associated with Caribbean slang. Throughout the centuries, cannabis slowly made its way across the Middle East and Europe, and finally Africa where it met its ultimate explosion in popularity during the years of the transatlantic slave trade[iii].
It was commonplace for slaves and indentured laborers from parts of Asia to carry this plant with them to their new homes in the Americas, where eventually its cultivation began. It is believed that between the 18th and 19th centuries the introduction of cannabis to North and South America resulted in such a massive spike in usage, that the eventual bans on the plant were enacted.
The plant was so highly valued around the 16th to 18th centuries, that laws were passed in the United Kingdom and their colonies in the Americas which mandated the growth of hemp[iv] by plantation owners, and it was even considered a legal tender alternative to money (ancient Bitcoin?). But it seems like with anything that is too good and readily available to all members of society, a small handful of elites had the ultimate say that led to its decline.
The first actual restrictions on the use of recreational cannabis were in the 14th century, and enforced by many of the Islamic countries in the Middle East, but it was only until the 18th century that colonial powers started to make real attempts to restrict the free use of this hallucinogenic plant.
The eventual outright banning of cannabis in the mid-20th century led to a significant amount of frustration amongst activists of natural and alternative remedies, and is what we can attribute that led to the eventual boom in CBD’s popularity.
The Rise Of CBD Oil
What exactly is this CBD we have been talking about all this time? CBD – the abbreviated name for Cannabidiol, is one of several naturally occurring compounds found in cannabis, referred to as phytocannabinoids. There are literally dozens of these compounds found in cannabis plants, but only a handful have recognized or established benefits on the human body.
On that point, it is very important to make it known that hemp, the source from which CBD oil is extracted, and marijuana both come from the same plant, cannabis sativa. The major differences between them are determined from a combination of their properties, cultivation and use, since industrial hemp is used in the manufacture of rope, paper and assorted textiles, while cannabis classified as marijuana is primarily used for its psychoactive high.
Marijuana is often limited to recreational use in today’s society, even though medical marijuana is also growing in popularity because of its synergistic benefits on managing certain health conditions.
But back to the rise in popularity of CBD oil. You probably did not know that CBD was first isolated from the cannabis plant in the year 1940 by an American organic chemist named Roger Adams, but unfortunately he was not able to determine what he had extracted or if it possessed any beneficial functions.
A full ban on cannabis plants was subsequently enacted in 1950 throughout the 50 United States, which effectively led to the blocking of further research on what Adams had extracted. In 1960, an Israeli chemist by the name of Raphael Mechoulam managed to isolate and describe the chemical nature of the compound, helping to confirm that CBD was in fact non-psychoactive, and enabling interest to be reignited in the plant.
Today, CBD is legal throughout all the states, after it was clearly found to have therapeutic benefit in the management of several health conditions that society grapples with today.
Understanding the way CBD works in the body is complicated. This is because not even many experts have fully explored the intricate systems of interactions needed to elicit effect, but we will break it down for you in the simplest way we can.
Much of CBD’s benefits on your health are mediated via interaction with the body’s cannabinoid system (also known as the Endocannabinoid system). This system can best be described as a secondary network of unofficial neurotransmitters, receptors and substrates (things that interact with the receptor), but which play huge roles in supporting optimal health.
A few other animals have been identified to have natural cannabinoid systems as well, such as dogs, cats and rodents, which explains why there is a large market for pet based CBD products, and why many studies involving CBD are conducted on rodents.
There are two identified cannabinoid receptor subtypes, named CB1 and CB2[v], and it is with interaction with these receptors that CBD oil delivers its actions.CB1 receptors are heavily concentrated in the brain and nervous system, while CB2 receptors are found mainly on the surface of white blood cells. Understanding this basic location actually gives a major clue about what benefits you might observe.
The many natural cannabinoids produced by the body are capable of either activating or blocking receptors, which is noteworthy since CBD is known as an antagonist[vi] (blocking the receptor).
A Bit About CBD Oil Quality
Is all CBD oil the same? Not at all. In fact, several differences exist at the level of extraction that can make two seemingly identical oils significantly different in terms of potency and purity.
For instance, there are three extract forms of CBD oil:
CBD isolate – this is oil that contains only CBD. This is ideal for users who want a product supplying CBD alone and nothing else.
Broad-spectrum CBD oil – broad-spectrum CBD oil contains many naturally occurring phytocannabinoids, along with naturally occurring terpenes and flavonoids. The presence of these additional compounds is said to boost the effect of the oil as a whole.
Full-spectrum CBD oil – by far the most efficacious extract, containing all of what naturally occurs in hemp. It is important to note that full-spectrum CBD oil does contain a small amount of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) – usually less than 0.3%, which is a safe accepted amount for plants to be considered hemp. These oils help to deliver the entourage effect, best summarized by a 1+1=3 scenario. The only adverse thing about full-spectrum oils is that the presence of this small amount of THC may not be desirable to some people.
CO2 extraction – this is done using carbon dioxide gas. It usually produces the purest CBD oil and leaves no toxic residue.
Ethanol alcohol extraction – best for producing rich full-spectrum oils which contain chlorophyll but may also contain trace amounts of toxins.
Now, it’s time we move on to the actual meat of the matter; seeing what the use of CBD oil can do for the body. Ready? Then let’s go!
12 Amazing Benefits of CBD Oil
1. Management of Epilepsy Symptoms
Many people don’t know this, but a large part of the CBD revolution has been led by Epidiolex, the only FDA approved[vii] CBD preparation used to help manage symptoms of the seizure disorder epilepsy. Why? Because of the undisputed fact that it works.
CBD oil is exceptionally effective at treating grand mal seizures, which are the most severe manifestation of the condition and is usually not responsive to conventional medical treatment. It came to the forefront during the 2000’s when the family of Charlotte Figi [viii], frustrated from dealing with in excess of 300 hundred of these seizures per week decided to hand extract the oil from cannabis plants.
Within the first week of use, their daughter was able to experience for the first time in her life since the age of 3 months, a week completely devoid of seizure activity. The worst case scenario from using CBD for managing of epilepsy symptoms is that not all seizures are eliminated, but you can still look forward to a massive reduction in the overall frequency of episodes.
The exact mechanisms behind these actions are not fully known, but in addition to helping to manage epilepsy it also exerts neuroprotective [ix] properties that allow the brain to recover and protect it from long term damage.
This is exceedingly important in children such as Charlotte with Dravet Syndrome who are prone to developing learning disabilities and pseudo-Autism like symptoms if they are to have a chance of living a normal life.
2. CBD For Cancer- Myths And Truths
There are hundreds of snake oil salesmen and websites peddling LIES that CBD oil can cure cancer, giving people that are their most vulnerable and desperate false hope and in the process ripping them off of thousands of hard earned dollars.
So why did we mention it here as a benefit? Well, even though we are NOT advocating the use of CBD oil as a cancer cure, there are DEFINITE ways its use can help you through this tough time. As such, we classify is more as an adjuvant than a standalone “cure”.
How does it help exactly? It is estimated that about 38% of people will develop cancer throughout their lifetime, and need to be subjected to the harsh effects of chemotherapy, radiation and more. You can see why people might be willing to try a natural alternative, but at the same time inadvertently fall into the trap of lies.
CBD is currently used to help manage some of these symptoms, such as decreasing nausea, improving appetite and potentiating the effectiveness of pain reliving medication used to deal with the discomfort. You might even be able to reduce your painkiller dose if all goes well.
Does this mean that it has no real part to play in management of the “actual” cancer? Not at all. In fact, preliminary studies have been done investigating its use in restricting the progression of cancer [x], discovering the following:
- It suppresses the growth of cancer cells, making them more likely to be taken care of by NK [xi] (natural killer) cells of the immune system.
- May actually help shrink the size of tumors
- Reduces the rate of cancer cell migration or metastasis
- Reduces their adherence potential to other cell surfaces
- May help to reactivate the programmed death sequence all healthy cells possess. Cancerous cells have found ways to deactivate this control and as a result, can grow continuously and uncontrollably (depending on specific cancer)
The endocannabinoid system [xii] seems to help mediate these effects since its particular function revolves heavily around homeostasis; or the maintenance of an ideal body state of balance.
And once again- do not quote pseudo-science. More studies MUST be conducted to confirm the plausible anti-cancer benefits, so until that time do not attempt to self-medicate or withhold lifesaving therapy.
3. Management Of Pain And Inflammation
Pain can make us do some crazy things. And that’s short term pain we’re talking about. When it comes to chronic pain, can you imagine having to deal with the discomfort day after day? Sadly, this is what an estimated 10% [xiii] of the American population has to endure on end.
Add arthritic disease [xiv] to the mix, and the number goes up even more, to a staggering 23%! Of course, this number is probably higher in real-life, since this was just the number actually diagnosed by a physician. Many others go their entire lives without a proper diagnosis even though they probably do have it.
Pain by itself is bad enough, but what happens when you add inflammation to an explosive cocktail? You get signal amplification, sometimes causing referred pain in location adjacent to and even beyond the point of origin. So knee pain may be felt through the entire length of your legs, or the area may become tender to tough. This is part of the damage long term inflammation may cause to nerve endings.
Pain in no joke. It is so deeply embedded into our primal DNA that when we experience it our automatic response is to curl up into a ball and avoid anything that triggers it subsequently. This could mean walking, using the affected part of the body or worse, accounting for the loss of millions of productive work hours every year.
But don’t painkillers exist for these indications? Yes. Painkillers do exist that are very effective at their job of mitigating pain intensity, BUT they are not your best options when considering long term health. Depending on the type of painkiller prescribed/consumed, you can open up yourself to serious issues such as substance abuse; caused by the opiates that have a high addiction potential, or bleeding, respiratory and cardiovascular issues from long tern NSAID use arising from those such as Advil and Aleve.
Not to leave out the fact that these medications are a heavy burden on the liver and you can see how you might be forced to choose from either just leaving the chronic pain and suffering in silence, or using the meds and risking a slew of other maladies.
How about CBD? CBD oil offers an excellent alternative for the management of pain, and even though it is best for dealing with chronic pain, it does help out with pain of a more acute nature. It can help deal with the following:
- Arthritic pain- possesses both a pain and inflammatory component which can be alleviated with the use of CBD oil.
- Muscular aches and pain- be that from strains, DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness the day or two following a workout),
- Neuropathic pain- dull or intense, this is nerve pain which usually occurs secondarily to inflammation or over excitability of nerves to electrical stimuli.
- Miscellaneous pain- these include headaches, visceral (abdominal organ-type pain) and even transient cramping.
CBD works by blocking the release of glutamate and other pro-inflammatory compounds, and by acting as antagonists at the a3 glycine receptors [xv], concentrated heavily in the brain and spinal cord. As you may recall, we mentioned that CB1 receptors are found mainly in the brain and spinal cord, so this is an example of it also delivering analgesia via interaction with those receptor subtypes.
Best of all, there are no typical painkiller associated side-effects. This means good news for people with pre-existing gastrointestinal problems (specifically gastric ulcers) or cardiovascular disease, and the fact that CBD’s potency is arguably superior [xvi] to many NSAIDs is a great reason to switch from the old guard.
4. Skin Health
Have you seen the emergence of tons of skin care products which either include CBD oil as an ingredient, or are based primarily around it? Yep, CBD is starting to dominate the anti-aging skin care market, quickly becoming a favorite and best in class for helping skin to retain/regain its youthful glow and vigor.
You can thank the endocannabinoid for this. remember, above all else this system seems to have at its heart the maintenance of optimal health, which includes not allowing premature aging and deterioration of your structural tissue- in this case your skin.
It goes further too; being a surprisingly effective remedy for dealing with acne breakouts. How does it do this? By a couple different ways.
For one, it is believed to help reduce the secretion of sebum by the skin [xvii], one of the main culprits which contribute to the follicle blocking effects that lead to bacterial colonization.
But another, and probably more important mechanism, has to do with its significant anti-inflammatory properties. If there is one universal trait of CBD that makes it so effective at dealing with what seems like everything under the sun, it has to be its anti-inflammatory potential.
In the case of acne, inflammatory mediators are what determine how big your break outs and pimples are. People with seborrheic acne have it the worst, with large pus filled papules an everyday source of embarrassment, anxiety, discomfort and even depression in severe case.
By virtue of its anti-inflammatory potential, it can be of benefit to several skin conditions including acne, eczema, and even the auto-immune psoriatic lesions from psoriasis.
Want even greater anti-inflammatory potential? Combine your CBD application/consumption with daily Omega-3 fats and turmeric and see the synergistic effect in action.
5. CBD Oil For Insomnia
The importance of sleep is sorely under-appreciated. Far too many people dedicate large portions of their time (and life), to work, exercise and even eating well, but give little regard when it comes to sleep. But why does this happen when we need it more than ever?
We as humans are at an interesting point in our existence. We are inundated with distractions from all sides, and have a habit of overthinking things, much to our chagrin. This is because sleep is viewed as a non-productive activity, a time that could be better spent.
However, if this is your mentality, you stand to die prematurely, or experience a world of discomfort. Without (sufficient) sleep, you risk interfering with not only your physical health, but also mental wellbeing. Alterations to mood and personality are not uncommon, as is the development of mental disease.
On the spectrum of sleep disorders, there are those that cause us to always feel sleepy, such as narcolepsy, to the more common and dreaded one that prevents us from getting to sleep, insomnia.
You might be surprised to learn that CBD oil can help with many of these sleep disorders, as it seems to help fix what is broken, in a sense. Since its endocannabinoid manipulation is all about balance, this is actually a great thing. It means that if you take your CBD during the day you will not feel sleepy, or at night you will not feel overly stimulated.
But back to insomnia. It is estimated that about 10% of adults grapple with insomnia and chronic sleep deprivation, sometimes turning to not-so-good choices of sedatives for sleep. For short term use, they are acceptable, but the fact that tolerance, dependence and overdosing are real dangers mean that you need a better alternative.
CBD has shown excellent results in helping the large majority of people that use it improve their sleep patterns over the long term [xviii], including particularly difficult cases such as having been diagnosed with co-morbidities like PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
It is also a great choice for people experiencing high levels of stress of dealing with chronic anxiety. Combine it with the natural hormone melatonin (which you can get in supplement form) and you are likely to see a return of your body’s natural circadian rhythm.
6. Helps With Addiction And Withdrawal
Addiction is a beast to those that know it well, and is often scoffed at by people that have never truly dealt with it. Those 6 cups of coffee you drink daily? That can be considered low level addiction. If you’ve ever tried to kick your coffee habit, the headaches, irritability and low energy you feel are mild manifestations of what addicts deal with when they try to stop, leading to a cycle of continued usage in order to avoid the debilitating withdrawal symptoms.
By far, the two most common addictions in the USA would have to be nicotine and the opioid painkillers. Each of these is believed to rewire parts of the brain- especially the reward pathway, in such a manner that the substrates are now needed to interact with receptors in order to maintain some semblance of normalcy (what is referred to as dependence)
Then there’s the real problem of tolerance, which is the scenario in which increasingly larger amounts of the drug of choice is needed to get the same sense of wellbeing or euphoria than in the beginning. This is why accidental over dosage with opiates and illicit drugs are so common, because you simply cannot know when that lethal point will be reached.
Opiates can cause sedation and respiratory depression in high doses, so many of the people end up dying in their sleep from impaired breathing.
This is why former drug addicts deserve our respect. Breaking the shackles is not an easy task, and one more than 50% of the people that attempt will fail. CBD can help make it easier.
Even though research into this is still in its infancy, it is believed that CBD can help you overcome addiction to opiates[xix] and other addictive drugs in a manner that is similar to that of smoking cessation, which it has successfully helped many people accomplish in recent years.
It is believed that by mitigating the intense withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, anxiety and insomnia, users can more easily transition back to normalcy. Plus, as we have stressed, the body’s endocannabinoid system strives for balance above all else, and appears to facilitate pathways in the brain recovering from being held hostage of the assorted poisons.
7. Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease takes a gut wrenching toll on families. Losing the thing that makes an individual unique- their memories and personality, leave caretakers and loved ones in disarray as the afflicted person slowly fades away.
Alzheimer’s diseases is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder with no cure, and with overall treatment options limited you can see why the outlook isn’t very bright. However, there is one way to delay the inevitable decline, and this is early diagnosis.
Identification of early stage beta-amyloid plaque buildup in the brain can lead to initiation of therapy designed to slow its accumulation, and rodent studies have indicated that CBD oil may be a great option for this [xx].
Its potent anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory processes can greatly slow the rate of cognitive impairment, and can lead to your loved ones having much better days. Its neuro-protective effect also most definitely plays a role here, but keep in mind that it is not a cure.
8. Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is a neurological condition ranging in severity from mild symptoms such as numbness, or the feeling of nerve tingling and pain, to severe manifestations such as inability to control bodily functions, walk or do anything for yourself.
It is considered progressive in the manner that it continuously gets worse, and there is no cure for it. It affects the brain, spinal cord and motor neurons which effect movement of muscles. The painful part is the fact that it typically affects the most productive members of society, people ranging in ages from 20 to 50. It can also occur outside his age ranges, but the vast majority of diagnosed cases are likely to occur in this age group.
Since there is no cure for MS, the only thing that can be done is to offer support and care to assist with management of the symptoms as they manifest. CBD oil is helpful in a few regards:
- Reducing the intensity of pain experienced [xxi]
- Exerting antispasmodic action
- Helping to manage the anxiety and depression that is likely to develop secondarily to MS
- Relaxing muscle tonicity or stiffness
As in all research dealing with CBD in humans, more studies need to be undertaken to reinforce these findings.
Fibromyalgia is estimated to affect between 2 to 8% of the adult population in the United States, with women appearing to have higher diagnosis rates than men. It is characterized by chronic low to moderate intensity all over body pain, along with an elevated sensitivity to pain triggers and pressure on the body. It is also normal for people that suffer from fibromyalgia to experience chronic fatigue syndrome, insomnia and even some degree of cognitive impairment when other causes are absent.
Nerve tingling and pain is also very likely along with psychological issues such as depression, anxiety or PTSD. The exact cause of this disorder is unknown, but it is believed to result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It appears to run in families, and is triggered by stressors.
A major component of the disorder involves the brain and nervous system developing what is known as central sensitization syndrome, whereby the nervous system’s ability to process painful stimuli have their thresholds lowered.
Commonly used medication to manage symptoms of the disorder leave much to be desired, with the likes of opioids, anxiolytic medication and antidepressants known to cause side effects that rival the original disorder. Add to the mix that their effectiveness is questionable and one may wonder if it is worth the trouble of using them at all.
CBD oil may prove a much safer and still effective alternative to these medications, since it contributes to management of many of the associated symptoms, and might be better than opioids for dealing with nerve related pain.
Though there is no accepted cure for fibromyalgia, there are clear periods of remission when sufferers go extended periods of time without any symptoms. The goal of CBD therapy is still to increase the frequency and duration of these phases of no symptoms.
People who do not grapple with daily anxiety can find it hard to appreciate just how much of an impact it can have on a person’s life. Anxiety is not just mere apprehension at the thoughts of an adverse outcome, but sometimes crippling fear and nervousness that leave the affected individual isolated and open to other psychological disorders developing.
Anxiety actually doesn’t have one diagnosis of manifestation, but can come in different forms including irrational phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, PTSD, social awkwardness, panic disorders or generalized anxiety disorder.
As you can see, the manifestations of these anxiety subtypes can differ quite significantly from one another, and can be hard to diagnose owing to the fact that difficult the company some other psychological diagnosis.
Many people either shrug off severity of an anxiety disorder, or if you do seek help receive medical intervention and prescribed therapy that is less than ideal, since commonly recommended medications are known to have many unwanted side effects.
CBD is extremely effective in managing the symptoms of anxiety [xxii], since the endocannabinoid system mitigates the overproduction of neurotransmitters and hormones that are known to intensify your fight or flight response. This also explains why CBD oil is recommended for people dealing with a high stress burden as it effectively helps modulate activity of the stress hormone cortisol.
It is imperative that you also take necessary steps while using CBD oil to forge an environment that is conducive to balance. This might include avoiding the use of common stimulants such as coffee, getting enough sleep in order to restore brain chemistry, and generally not putting yourself in position that can trigger anxiousness – think of waiting the last minute to complete assignments, work tasks are getting stuck in rush hour traffic every morning.
Have you ever considered what the differences between ADHD and ADD are? The major difference is that ADHD occurs with clear hyperactivity, in that the production of stimulating neurotransmitters is higher than normal and as a result makes it difficult for that individual to really focus on the task at hand.
Commonly diagnosed during childhood, this is not a disorder limited to children only, as effects typically persist well into adulthood. While not technically a learning disorder, the lack of clear focus does make it difficult to really buckle down and ensure that the environment is conducive to learning.
Treatment for ADHD does exist, coming in the form of an amphetamine salt known as Adderall, and while it does appear effective, it has severe adverse effects that can persist for life causing long-term depression and other anxiety disorders.
CBD oil may present an attractive alternative for managing the symptoms of ADHD. By interacting with the endocannabinoid system it is able to reduce the production of excessive stimulate you neurotransmitters, reducing the compulsive anxiety experienced by sufferers.
The fact still remains that attention deficit may remain, but with the use of an effective nootropic supplement this should be overcome.
If this sounds like something you might be interested in, we strongly suggest for you to consult an expert physician that is well-versed with the use of CBD, especially if it pertains to pediatric patients.
Of all the mental health issues out there, depression has to be the devil incarnate. Depression doesn’t just take a toll on the affected person, but often trickles down the caregivers and their support network, sometimes triggering a cycle of depression.
Antidepressant medications do exist, and while they temporarily help to rectify neurotransmitter imbalances – most often caused by low serotonin levels or poor transmission, they are known to cause a slew of unwanted effects including sexual dysfunction, somnolence, increased body weight and mood changes.
This is why more and more people are looking at alternatives to standard antidepressant medications, and it just might be found in CBD. Investigating the use of CBD and CBD [xxiii] related compounds as natural options to treat depression since it can also help improve serotonin transmission, but without the many adverse effects.
Such formulations using CBD-based products aren’t likely to be made available anytime soon, but a safety profile of CBD oil means that you can try it for yourself and see if it helps you.
CBD oil is being investigated for possessing many more benefits, though it isn’t frequently used to help manage these as yet. They include:
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Diabetes [xxiv]
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- Appetite modulation
- Multidrug-resistant bacterial infections
The CBD revolution is here, and gaining traction. Even though there is still a huge aura of misconception and fear surrounding the therapeutic use of CBD oil, we hope that we have cleared the air on several of them, and have shown you that CBD oil is non-psychoactive and vastly different from marijuana.
The best analogy of CBD and marijuana’s relationship is like comparing the presence of water found in a dirty river to it. We know that water is still necessary, but because it has been tarnished by the dirty rivers image, should we fear all that water has to offer?
Sources and References
[ii] “Marijuana and the Cannabinoids”, ElSohly (p. 8)